Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Listening to the Song in My Head Podcast - Episode 1

Here it is, the first episode of the Listening to the Song In My Head Podcast, my venture into a new format. This inaugural show is 40 minutes long, and includes 9 songs. The tracklisting with download links is below. This is the first time I've tried anything like this, so feedback please!

Listening to the Song In My Head Podcast - Episode 1

1: Go Outside - Cults
2: The Curse - Cults. Download album for free on their Bandcamp page, and pre-order the vinyl 7" here.

3: Green Tops - Totally Nebular. Download the album for free here.

4: The High Road - Broken Bells. Download from Amazon MP3.

5: Getaway Car - The Luxury. Download from Amazon MP3.

6: I'll Go With You - Downhill From Here. Check out my review of the album for another track and information on how to get the album.

7: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - The Gaslight Anthem. Download the album on Amazon MP3.

8: Birthday Boy - The Drive-By Truckers. Download the album on Amazon MP3.

9: Easternization - Deskhop. Download the EP on a pay what you want basis on his website.

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Deskhop - Quite possibly the next master of the mashup

A junior at Cornell, Ian Wells, aka Deskhop, may very well be the next mashup master. Deskhop is from a different school of mashups that most of the artists I've listened too and posted about. Rather than weaving together two songs, or simply taking vocals from one and instrumentals from another, he takes samples from many different songs and crafts them into an opus of his own. He has a full length album and an EP (both availible for download on his website). I've only listened to the EP so far so I can't speak to the full length, but from what I've heard about all I can say is that this man is a genius. The music is almost hypnotic, a tremendously rewarding listen.
Easternization - Deskhop

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blog Changes

I'm undergoing some significant changes in my personal habits and musical habits, and it's going to significantly impact the blog, so I thought I should let you guys know. First off, I've had a bit of a falling out with my computer, and have been spending much less time on it, reducing the amount of internet music digging I do. This is why posts have been so infrequent lately, I've simply been finding significantly less bands.

Second, and more excitingly, I have acquired a record player (actually, it's on its way, the first one i bought is being returned). This coming weekend, I'm planning on spending some quality time at some record stores in Sacramento with pretty extensive used vinyl collections, and hope to make some great discoveries.

The result all this will have on the blog: posts will most likely be less frequent, but more in depth, and more posts on older (but fairly obscure, no posting classic rock) artists. Definitely don't expect to see the posts on current indie bands go away, just more infrequent. Basically, I'm going to go for an approach of focusing more on the discoveries that I really like, rather than a brief daily post on a pretty good band.

I'm pretty excited about this new direction, and I hope all of you regular readers (all 10 of you) stay on board.


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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cults - Cults 7"

First off, sorry I have been sucking so majorly regarding posting the past two weeks, I have been spending very little time on my computer. Hopefully I'll be back into it soon.

Cults are the latest indie pop band to sweep the internets, with their completely free Cults 7". Even with the only 3 songs on the single/EP (whichever you want to call it), they've got a great range of styles. In general, the sound is a fairly upbeat dream-pop, with harmonized, childlike vocals. "Go Outside" is built on a xylophone riff, "Most Wanted" is extremely reminiscent of "Walkabout", by Atlas Sound, and features some of the same xylophone, accompanied by a swirling bed of synths. "The Curse" switches things up and lays some reverb drenched vocals over an equally reverb drenched minor key guitar riff. It is much darker than the other two, following an almost bluesy chromatic melody.

There is very little biographical info on the band, but with the way their debut sounds, and the way it's swept through the blogosphere, these guys have a serious future. It's some of the best experimental type pop music I have heard in quite some time, and I'm excited to hear more.

Go Outside - Cults

Stream and download all three songs free on their Bandcamp page.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

"And after changing everything, they couldn't tell we couldn't sing"

I'm not sure quite what it is, but the cadence of the vocals in this song really remind me of a very wise man telling stories, and the end seems to have a very distinct air of finality. It would be good for ending something. Not sure what, but something. Stars are from Montreal, and this is actually from their 2004 album, Set Yourself On Fire, but it recently came to my attention thanks to the fine folks at Quick Before It Melts (a truly high quality blog). They've got a new album, entitled The Five Ghosts, coming on June 22nd.

Soft Revolution - Stars


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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

(yet another) Sweet Mash-up from the Hood Internet

From the mash-up geniuses that brought us "Two Weeks of Hip Hop" and "Good Old Fashion Rump Shaker", comes "Juke This City", a mash-up of BBU, Body Language, and Shuttle. I've never heard of any of those bands, but the mash-up has a great beat, some real cool crowd-shouted vocals, and some great rap verses. Basically it's damn catchy and it puts on a great dance atmosphere.
Juke This City (BBU vs. Body Language vs. Shuttle) - The Hood Internet

Check The Hood Internet website for great new mash-ups every couple of days.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

"Sole Brother" - Born Ruffians

"Sole Brother" consists of one part engaging lyrics and nifty wordplay (yes, nifty), one part catchy guitar hook, and one part very well delivered vocals reminiscent of Chris from the Morning Benders. "I wish, I was, a sole brother, an only child" (full lyrics). This catchy little earworm of a track comes to us as the lead single from Canadian trio Born Ruffians' upcoming album, Say It, yet to be given a release date.

Sole Brother - Born Ruffians

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Some Links Down

Hey, I'm aware of the fact that the past 8 or so songs are down, I switched file hosting services, and it had a bandwidth limit I was unaware of that I have somehow reached. I'll be getting that resolved as soon as possible.

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

99 Songs of the Revolution, Vol. 1 on it's way

I have always been a huge ska fan, although I can't say I've ever gone particularly deep into the genre. Streetlight Manifesto have always been my favorites, and Volume 1 of 99 Songs of the Revolution, a joint project of a variety of Tomas Kalnoky related bands comes out this Tuesday. Streetlight Manifesto, Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution, and two other related bands are said to be releasing albums in this 99 cover song project, and Streetlight Manifesto's Volume 1 is almost here. It's their 4th studio album, and first ever cover album. I honestly have not heard of most of the songs they are covering (tracklisting here), but one of the few I do know, Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" has been leaked and I have it here for you. Enjoy.
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Paul Simon cover) - Streetlight Manifesto

Apology for my lack of posts this past week, I've been spending very little time at the computer (blame the book I'm reading), and consequentially have been finding almost no new music about which to post. I'm gonna be back in the coming week though, so don't worry. I also apologize for the mess of words that is today's post, I'm a bit out of it after having been gone. Better tomorrow, promise.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

1 rap, 3 beats

It just occurred to me the other day that I have my favorite Jay-Z song, "Encore", with 3 different beats. I have the original, the mashup with "Numb" from the mashup album with Linkin Park, and the mashup with "Reckoner", from the Jaydiohead mashup album. Of the three, the original is definitely my least favorite, but I like them all. The Linkin Park one is surprisingly good, but I think the Jaydiohead one is my favorite.

Reckoner's Encore - Jay-Z vs. Radiohead

Encore/Numb - Jay-Z vs. Linkin Park

Encore - Jay-Z

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Monday, March 8, 2010

"I Need A Dollar" - Aloe Blacc

I have not heard of Aloe Blacc before, but damn is this a good song! It's a classic 60's soul/mowtown track, but more than that it's pure pop perfection. The song starts with a catchy little piano riff, and then sets in with a melody that I've been whistling to myself non-stop for the past two days. Throw in some "hey hey hey"s and some horns, and you've got yourself a hell of a track. It's the first single from his upcoming album, Good Times, which as of yet has no release date. You should all join me in eagerly awaiting the album, as this guy has a fantastic soul voice, and if he can write a few more songs like this one, wow.

I Need A Dollar - Aloe Blacc

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Some food for thought, courtesy of Igor Stravinsky

"For I consider that music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all, whether a feeling, an attitude of mind, a psychological mood, a phenomenon of nature, etc....Expression has never been an inherent property of music. That is by no means the purpose of its existance. If, as is nearly always the case, music appears to express something, this is only an illusion and not a reality. It is simply an additional attribute which, by tacit and inveterate agreement, we have lent it, thrust upon it, as a label, a convention - in short, an aspect unconsiously or by force of habit, we have come to confuse with its essential being."

It's a very interesting take on music, especially from a man whose work caused fights in the audience. What do you guys think?

The Rite of Spring (excerpt) - Igor Stravinsky

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Luxury - In the Wake of What Won't Change

The Downhill From Here album (check post below if you don't know what I'm talking about) has really gotten me in the mood for some good rocking alternative, more mainstream than my tastes usually sway. The Luxury came along at a perfect time, because they really hit that spot. They capture the grandeur of arena rock, and the head banging sensibilities of modern alt-rock, but without the whiny vocals or overdone pretension and with a healthy dose of indie rock. In the Wake of What Won't Change is the Boston band's second self-released album, and it's certainly worth checking out. The first half of the album sticks with the indie-fied alt-rock sound, but with the second half of the album, they begin to move into a more indie-rock/pop sound. With the exception "Getaway Car", one of the top songs on the album, the second half is much stronger than the first, so if you aren't really feeling it, skip ahead to "Straightjacket" and see if you don't start liking things a little more. The first half does get a bit slow, but from "Straightjacket" on, it is nothing but very strong, very enjoyable songs. Check it out.

Getaway Car - The Luxury
012009 - The Luxury

Buy the album:
Amazon Mp3
Physical CD (from the band's website)

And here is their Myspace.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Downhill From Here Review

On their self-titled debut, Davis, California band Downhill From Here have taken the best elements of rock from the past 30 years and melded them together into an album of very strong, catchy songs and very tight playing. “Like You”, along with many other songs on the album, takes the core instrumental elements of metal, but overlays them with a very strong sense of melody rarely heard in the genre. Midway through the album, they throw in “Dead Dogs”, a stadium anthem with the slightest touches of a much harder rocking (and much less pretentious) U2.

The common thread throughout the album is that every song absolutely rocks. Even when they slow things down a bit towards the end with “I’ll Go With You”, there is still a blistering guitar line and a strong urge to head-bang. It’s a short album, 8 tracks and clocking in at just over 30 minutes, but it never gets stale, each song carries over enough from the previous one to give a very good sense of flow, but mixes it enough up to keep things fresh.

Another very strong point is the amount of sheer talent the band displays. Jacob Cross on drums and Simon Rothenberg on bass run one of the tightest rhythm sections I’ve heard in a while, giving each song a rock solid basis. From the hard rocking riffs to the scorching solos, guitarist Nate Cenzer is always on the absolute top of his game, and singer Nat Lefkoff’s tremendous melodies and soaring vocals finish out the sound.

While it may not be bringing anything particularly new to the table, when you need an album that straight up rocks and wastes no time going about it, this CD is exactly what you’re looking for.

They have self-released the album, so if you want a copy, email me at and I will put you in touch with them.

I'll Go With You - Downhill From Here
One Step - Downhill From Here

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Weekend Concert Preview

Sorry I've been gone so much, its been a somewhat hectic week. Anyway, there's a lot of great shows this weekend, so enjoy. As always, all shows are all ages unless otherwise noted, and bold shows are the ones I recommend. Genre descriptions refer to the bands in the order that they were listed.


Elephant Micah (go to to stream stuff), Oh Foot. Some somewhat dark, very good folk music, and some light, peaceful folk from a Davis band. 1430 Alice St. (Davis), 7pm. Free.

David Bazan. Kind of a mainstream alternative singer-songwriter guy. Blue Lamp (Sac), 9pm. Price uncertain, 21+.

Breathe Owl Breathe, Sea of Bees. Standard folk, and some hazy, slightly trippy folk. Luigi's Fungarden (Sac), 8:30pm. $6.

Deke Dickerson, Mae McCoy and the Neon Stars. Surf country and some staight country. Old Ironsides (Sac), 9pm. $12, 21+.

Blue Cranes, Elders, Brittney & Zach. Jazz show, pretty experimental sounding stuff, if you are into that kind of thing, should be a great show. 209 2nd St. (Davis), 8pm. $7.

Ten Mile Tide, Thaw Jack Frost. Folky bluegrass, and some jammin' blues rock. Marylin's (Sac), 9pm. $8, 21+.

Saturday and Sunday after the jump!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Big Echo Streaming in Full!

Rough night, so I'm gonna keep it short, but The Morning Benders are streaming their new album in full on their website! I haven't had a chance to give it more than a cursory listen, but I like the sound of it so far. Definitely check it out. Click here for earlier posts about the first two tracks (including mp3s).

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